Saturday 16th September
Walk to Parkstile Cottage and afternoon tea with Sue Gee
After a super insight into her novel Mysteries of Glass, thirteen of us made the walk from Kington to Parkstile, as the fictional young curate would have done frequently in his time at Lyonshall Church. Victorian dress was optional, I raided the dressing up box and upon our arrival at the cottage one of our youngest members dressed as a Victorian girl. It certainly created the atmosphere needed to make the whole experience perfect and as authentic as possible. Julia Reid led our walk and pointed out various places on the way, including tram and railway lines, weirs and mill ruins but the most memorable was the picnic site by the river, that many a Kingtonian visited back in the times when simple pleasures made a perfect Sunday afternoon. It certainly provoked lots of conversation from the members who were walking, and memories came flooding back of paddling in the river, ball games, kite flying and jam sandwiches. The weather was kind to us and we all made it to the cottage in one piece, passing the Station master’s cottage, we all looked up at the window where, in the book, Alice looked down to see Richard arrive at the station on that cold dark night in 1860. It was quite a moment as those who had read the book knew of the story that unfolded afterwards and the relationship he built with this family.
We were greeted at the cottage by Sue and were immediately made to feel at home, her generosity and hospitality was appreciated by all who came. The lighting of the fires made the cottage feel alive and when Sue showed everyone around pointing out where Richard entertained his Mother and sisters, where he wrote his sermons and the place where he had a close encounter with Susannah. Tea was served by three of our most valuable society members, Thelma, Anne and Carolyn. I think it goes without saying it was relished by all. Sue took the members who came by car, to the Station master’s cottage down the lane and everyone agreed it brought the book to life especially when the cows came in to the back field and peered into the kitchen window, just as they had in the novel. After tea I do not think anyone was in a rush to leave, but eventually we all did and left Sue & her son alone in the most evocative cottage I had ever been in. Huge thanks again to Sue and her son for allowing us to invade their space and share the experience of the novel’s beginnings.
Dates for your Diary.
Many members will know of Alan Stoyel’s long-standing interest in large, even huge scale engineering projects in the broadest sense, including of course the Mills Open Weekend. On 17th November Alan will be talking to us on another watery engineering theme, ‘Lugg Navigation’.
The meeting will be at 7.30 in Kington Primary School, Mill Street as usual. Members are free, visitors £2, which includes tea or coffee and biscuits.
Please keep Friday 8th December free for our rollicking Social & Quiz. Your generosity for Christmas fare and Raffle items would be greatly appreciated.
Editor: Vera Harrison